Mark signed the form, imagining both sides of the coin: if there was a catch, he would be in bigger trouble than before; if all was right as rain, he’d have a chance to do things better. Mr. Castius slid the paper away into a drawer and sat back. “That’s it, son. Go home. When you wake up tomorrow, things will be different.” Mark was perturbed as he left the nondescript office building, noting the lack of emotion in Castius’s statement. As he made his way home through the dirty streets, he made mental notes and planned to write them in his journal.
The alarm rang and as he sat up, Mark noticed there was something wrong. He clapped a hand on the snooze button and flipped the clock to silent, realizing that was it–there was no noise. He moved to the window as he did each morning; usually he was greeted by the sounds of the city: buses, taxi cabs, pedestrians on their way to the subway, newspaper sellers, the waking homeless, policemen, coffee vendors, school children. But there was none of that. The city was quiet and not so much a city as a small town. There were live trees along a promenade being watered by auto-sprinklers. A young woman was jogging with a small dog wagging along the way; they both stopped to have quiet words with a lady opening the bistro on the corner. Mark moved to the nightstand and picked up his mobile phone to review his contacts. There were more names missing than he expected and he was sadly relieved to not find Pam’s number either. Changing the past was certainly a coward’s way out of fatherhood, he surmised on his way to the shower. The corn flake breakfast was also a change since he usually kept some sugar-bomb boxes in the pantry; now it was filled with organic and wholesome choices. As he crunched another spoonful, his mobile rang; the caller identification indicated that it was Audrey and by the looks of the accompanying photo that showed the two of them in a close embrace, she was someone he should talk to. “Good morning, Audrey,” he answered in a husky voice.
“Yeah, whatever. Don’t forget to pick Brittany up after soccer this afternoon; it’s your weekend.” And with a click she was gone. Mark dashed from the table and dug in the nightstand for his journal: there was no mention of Mr. Castius but there was plenty on Audrey and the daughter he’d had with her. He hung his head, realizing what Mr. Castius meant by things being different.
The Master makes the rules; one may try to change the game but regardless of the players the result has already been ordained.
Today’s Daily Prompt reminds me of one of my biggest fears. There are often times that I think about how much I’d like to have the keys to the time machine so I could go back and make myself turn left instead of following a scary lead to turn right. But I know that I am not in charge of my ultimate destiny and by trying to muck around with the chess pieces I could in fact ruin a whole lot more than my own score. As much as I’d like to change things, I know it’s well above my pay grade to do so…